The COVID pandemic took the world by storm, creating a domino effect on several medium-scale, small-scale industries and individuals. The strain on businesses led to job losses and taking a financial hit. Those who had lost their jobs or took a massive salary cut had to depend on their savings to pay the necessary bills. But as industries adapted themselves to the current scenario, many saw positive growth, instigating the need for better financial management and literacy. Simultaneously, the pandemic opened opportunities in personal finance as people were encouraged to seek advice from professionals who could help them accurately invest their money.
This time around, people are more open to guidance and understanding the right way to invest and save their accumulated wealth. The pandemic allowed many professionals to learn and unlearn skills while working from home.Many developed interest in personal finance and went on to either switch their careers or upskill themselves with specialised courses and certificates.
Before we elaborate on the career prospects of being a financial advisor, let us understand the basics first.
Who is a personal finance advisor and planner?
A personal finance advisor and planner help individuals make the right decisions about their money via investments and/or savings. They help you manage your finances better with healthy outcomes in the future. These experts use their financial knowledge and experience to achieve the financial goals of an individual. An advisor creates strategies for not just investments but also for savings, budget, insurance and tax.
Personal finance advisors can also help one to evaluate and mitigate risks, and avoid any costly errors.
Usually, a personal finance advisor, as stated above, guides on various aspects of financial instruments, while few have specializations such as debt management, retirement planning, finance and investment planning, risk management, insurance planning, etc.
A Talent Gap
The increasing awareness of wealth management has led to the rise in demand for advisors and managers who can help in counselling for portfolio creation and management. It would not be an exaggeration to state that India is facing a huge talent gap. According to a news report quoting Rajesh Krishnamoorthy, Country Head of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) Ltd’s Indian Liaison Office, said for a country with a population in billions there are only 2000 CFP(Certified Financial Planner) experts in India.
This is where fintech companies come into the picture.They provide financial guidance and tips to the underserved segment of India, the blue-collared employees who have fewer savings compared to others but are open to financial management. The neo-bank offers an umbrella of services and products that cater to the specific segment.
Growth of Fintech Platforms
Fintech platforms have been highly effective in democratizing wealth management, taking this service to income segments that fall outside high-net worth individuals, the usual focus of the industry. These platforms have created a level-playing field where anyone can start investing, starting with a very small amount. In addition, they also offer user-friendly features and services that deliver high value for the investors.
As a result, India has the fastest-growing fintech markets in the world with the highest adoption rate globally. It is currently valued at $31 billion and is expected to reach $84 billion by 2025, at a robust growth rate of 22%. This remarkable success also shows the rise of stratus in the recent years. More than 67% of these 2,100+ fintechs have been set up in the last 5 years. Many of these startups have even forced legacy banks and institutions to digitalise and widen their ambit of services.
Courses and certificates essential to be a personal finance advisor:
Those interested in this career must have a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related course such as finance, business, accounting, mathematics or economics with a certification by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
Many professional finance bodies like IRDA and SEBI encourage people to seek financial guidance from professionals who hold a CFP certificate.
A specialisation in finance management can become an added advantage and attract plenty of high paying jobs in India.
A career in personal finance as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) holds a vast range of job opportunities, such as:
- Insurance Companies: Within an insurance company, financial advisors use strategies, knowledge and principles of life insurance to recommend the right insurance policy to the clients. Professionals with interpersonal and analytical skills, ready to help an individual meet his long term goal thrive in this industry.
- Banks and other financial institutions: Financial advisors in banks advise people about the various investment products they have and suggest the most appropriate one according to the needs and goals of an individual.
- Investment Firms: Financial planners in an investment firm analyse the risk capacity and risk tolerance of a client which help planners in determining a suitable time for investments such as assets or funds.
- Wealth Management Firms: Financial advisors at wealth management firms specialise in creating plans and strategies to maximise a client’s current wealth with meticulous analysis. These range from private wealth management, lending and cash management to investment solutions.
The robust growth of fintechs offer a strong avenue for those seeking a career in financial services, particularly in wealth management. Given the digitalisation of services, this is the right time to bridge the talent gap in the industry by acquiring the most suitable qualifications.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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